Publisher: Viking Books
Isbn-10: 0670020486 | Isbn-13: 9780670020485 | Publish date: 13/01/2009
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I was attracted to this book by reading the first few pages while waiting for a friend at a bookstore. It's beautifully written and truly reflected lives of local and expats in Hong Kong.
However, the first half of the story seemed not very easy to read; I almost lost of my patience on it. For some reason, the story became interesting and intriguing from pp.114.
chih said on Jun 17, 2012, 11:44
Samantha said on Mar 04, 2012, 19:32
Liz4211 said on Sep 02, 2011, 10:20
Strongly recommended. Very well written account of wartime Hong Kong and the aftermath.
'Do you know what it's like to see your life unravel because of something you failed to do... it haunts you like nothing else'
He shakes her. He wants to bite her cheek, viciously until flesh tears off and blood runs down his chin. He wants to devour her whole, until she feels the pain he has been feeling. The pain he has caused her too.
D said on Jun 22, 2010, 08:49
I started out reading the book and then switched to listening to the audio version on my MP3 player. I found when I was reading the book it seemed stilted and awkward. It seemed like the author glossed over certain parts and just assumed the reader was following her thought processes. The audio version did make the words and conversations seem more relevant, but did little to bring the characters to life, especially Claire. I never got a real sense of who Claire was and felt she was not suited to the privilege of being the “title” character. This was really Trudy’s story. And maybe even Lockets’ story, yet we hardly knew Locket at all. Will was easier to understand, except for his relationship with Claire. He said she was like a blank slate, but that doesn’t explain why he was interested in her. In my opinion, the author missed the mark on this one.
Favorite quote: “She reads about Beethoven, Chinese rice farming, biographies of English prime ministers, and finds comfort in the fact that she will never run out of books.”
AuntieEm said on Mar 23, 2010, 23:03
I was attracted by the cover's small words "New York Times Bestseller" and the last name, Lee, of the author. The back cover said it was her debut, a Hong Kong author. As an inspired writer, I snatched it off the shelf to see what it takes for a local writer to be published and become a best seller.
I was disappointed. The author put in a lot of research about 1941 war times in Hong Kong and the jumping between different years were clearly arranged. The story unfolded to review the secrets of a major character but along the way, I lost track of who the story is about, what messages and feelings the author is trying to convey and most of all, I was not touched. Maybe I was being judgmental and subjective by using how I feel to rate the book but to be honest, I have read better books! I surely cannot write a novel yet but if and when I could, I do hope I can write better.
Minnie Hung said on Feb 25, 2010, 08:40
After all the glowing reviews I honestly expected much much better.
I didn't like this book even if I did manage to finish it.
To be honest, I would probably not have bothered reading if I had read the book blurb only and not been taken in by 1. the reviews and 2. the fact that the book was set in Asia.
Other reviewers have given accurate summaries of the story-line which I will not needlessly repeat here.
The first 100 pages were the worst to get through but I did find that the book did pick up after this. This was probably due to the fact that I had I arrived at the best and most interesting point of the book, the period that saw Will in the internment camp. Research had evidently been done by J.Y.K.L here. ( the only reason for the extra star, or else it would have been one.)
"The Piano Teacher" did not satisfy me on any front. From the plot-storyline to how it was written to the dialogues to the characterisation.
One thing that struck me was that the main characters could all be considered egoistic.
When I finished, I felt that the book was trying to be too many things for too many people without delivering the goods.
At the end I was also left with too many "whys" regarding motives that the characters had for their actions(apart from egoism and/or greed for the main characters.)
Allybally said on Dec 02, 2009, 14:25
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It is two love stories set against the background of Hong Kong during the war and ten years later. Trudy is one of those characters that create a presence and made the story come alive. I would have given the book four stars if it had been out of five, but I reserve five stars for those special books and it doesn't quite reach that status.
Liz4211 said on Sep 19, 2009, 08:11
Two days ago I thought my review of this book would be quite different than it is. Two days ago I was on page 113 of this book and I was getting frustrated with the vapid characters who were either spending all their time acting the part of the privileged upper class English ex-pats in Hong Kong or (in Claire's case) stealing trinkets. Even the war-time surrender of Hong Kong to the Japanese seemed only a minor inconvenience to these people. However, a mere 13 pages later, the story rapidly grows teeth.
The Piano Teacher tells the story of two separate love affairs in the life of English ex-pat Will Truesdale. The two events are separated by a span of 12 years. In the 1940s, Will is new to Hong Kong and in love with a young Eurasian heiress, Trudy. They fill their days and nights with parties and other pleasant diversions. Even the war does little to affect their lifestyle, until the Japanese decide to put all the "enemy civilians" in interment camps. Will goes into the camp, but Trudy denies her British citizenship and remains free. From this point on, the story turns into a tragically human story of love, betrayal, and loss.
In the 1950s, Will has an affair with a young married woman, Claire. However, Will and Claire's affair simply provides the framework for the bigger picture of what ultimately happened to Will and Trudy during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.
Readingrat said on Jan 08, 2009, 05:44